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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

An Open Letter to All Non-Muslims Regarding the Anti-Islam Film and Cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

It is a centuries-old Islamic tradition to engage in debate, tolerate criticism and hear the critiques of others. But insults against Islam, such as those in the recent film and cartoons, are unacceptable provocations that cross a red line that no Muslim or decent human being would ever accept. As such we condemn them in the strongest possible terms, as we do any such insults against Islam and the symbols of our religion; especially those against the greatest man ever, the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.

We do not condone the recent violence that has broken out in response, but the blood-stained track record of Western foreign policy and hypocrisy regarding free speech means that all right to take the moral high ground has been forfeited when arguing that violence is an unacceptable response to this provocation, or when arguing that freedom of speech is sacred.

We believe it is our duty as Muslims to counter the politically motivated propaganda, in particular about the man who has been slandered more than any other in history – the Prophet, peace be upon him – but also to be frank in pointing out injustice and hypocrisy where we see it.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney argued that the protests across the World against US embassies were nothing to do with US foreign policy. Does the White House really think that such protests can be de-contextualised from the backdrop of wars waged against Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan; the illegal imprisonment and torture of Muslims at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Bagram and numerous other facilities; the use of rendition and torture in collaboration with the regimes of Hosni Mubarak, Muammar Gaddafi, Bashar al-Assad and others; the continued killing of innocent men, women and children through Predator drones, most notably in Yemen & Pakistan? Only recently eight innocent women and children were killed by a NATO airstrike in Afghanistan, and in early September long-term Guantanamo detainee Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif died having been held without charge and subjected to torture for 10 years, despite being cleared for release in 2006.

It is disturbing that such news fails to shock anymore. However it is for these very reasons and many others that we see a persistent resentment to Western interference in Muslim countries, and so reaction to perceived insults will inevitably be strong.

At the same time many Western politicians and media commentators have stated that upholding “freedom”, including the right to offend others, is a fundamental principle of liberal societies.

Yet such principles seem remarkably easy to set aside when it comes to the treatment of Muslims – women and girls in France are still unable to wear hijab (Islamic headscarf) in schools and universities, or niqab (face veil) in public places, and we have seen Muslims prosecuted (even jailed) in Western countries for simply expressing their views. In the United States Tarek Mehenna was jailed for 17 years, ostensibly for translating a readily available e-book that had been widely quoted in the media. America seeks the extradition of Babar Ahmed and Talha Ahsan for running a website that was legal in the UK, which updated news about the Chechen crisis. And recently a 20-year-old man in the UK was found guilty for posting an offensive message on Facebook regarding British soldiers in Afghanistan.

France claims freedom of expression is a ‘fundamental principle’ of the republic. And yet Charlie Hebdo, the magazine printing the offensive cartoons while claiming to be a bastion of free speech – previously lambasted their own cartoonist Maurice Sinet for writing a biting article about Nicholas Sarkozy’s son which appeared to denigrate him for marrying a Jewish heiress for money. Sinet was subsequently sacked by his employers for refusing to apologies – their ‘fundamental principle’ set aside to appease domestic political sensitivities. Similarly, when the French Prime Minister stated that these cartoons are “expressed within the confines of the law and under the control of the courts”, he ought to have been reminded that the French senate passed a bill earlier this year outlawing denial of any genocide recognized by French law; a clear indication of the willingness to restrict expression under the law and through the courts for political reasons.

Let us be frank – this is not an argument about “freedom of speech”. Like all other mooted “freedoms”, it simply does not and cannot exist as an absolute, despite all the rhetoric.

All countries have red line issues that limit speech depending on context, leading to variation in law – such as the criminalisation of holocaust denial in Germany for historical reasons, despite it remaining legal elsewhere. Every society has criminalised speech according to their belief and value system. In secular Western society, religion is largely unvalued so blasphemy is permitted. Whereas in Islamic society religion is the core value and so blasphemy becomes a red line issue, including insulting any of the Prophets of God, starting from the Prophet Adam, to Prophets Moses and Jesus to the Prophet Mohammad.

The cost to societal harmony from the ‘freedom to insult’ is rarely discussed. Western Europe’s moral and legal tradition stems from its Christian heritage, which has become routinely mocked and derided. This freedom to mock and deride, which we appreciate was born out of Europe’s particular dilemma of Church authority, opened the door to the growing disrespect and anti-social behaviour in society – where rudeness is celebrated as a sign of assertiveness, courtesy undervalued as weakness, and all too many people do not respect each other or the law.

There are some who will look beyond the superficial images and clichéd analysis, sincerely wondering why people are so upset, asking why millions of Muslims in the UK and Europe seem not to have adopted the secular values they are surrounded by. They will inquire as to why Muslims have persisted on adhering to Islamic values despite relentless criticism and abuse – and are joined every day by others who are newly convinced of Islam. As the systemic decline in capitalism becomes increasingly obvious, people across the world are searching for new answers; many will find them in Islam.

A process of change in the Muslim world has been accelerated by the Arab spring, where a debate about the future of the region is growing. At present the emerging governments are weak, provide a fig-leaf for the old military authorities and insist on perpetuating a flawed secular, capitalist, nation-state model that is an aberration in terms of the history and values of the Muslim world.

As people ask “Is this, the freedom to insult Prophets, what ‘freedom and democracy’ really means?” the call for an Islamic model of government (the Islamic Caliphate) continues to grow in the region – one that is true to the principles of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and his successors, which protects the security, property, honour and beliefs of all its citizens, regardless of creed, colour or gender. A state which obliges accounting political authority and intellectual inquiry, but prohibits making money from gossip and slander; which encourages trade yet circulates wealth; which allows private enterprise but shares the states natural resources with all; and which finally breaks the colonial grip on the Muslim world so that it can present a true message of Islam.

Indeed, if a government in the Muslim world had taken a robust stand on the international stage using all diplomatic means at its disposal in order to arrest the on-going insults to the Prophet, peace be upon him, we would not now be seeing tens of thousands of demonstrators taking to the streets due to the lack of a political leadership at a state level that reflects their deeply held beliefs.

Surely there is too much that needs to be understood, which requires a mature debate and intellectual discussion rather than insults and lies and we would invite others to engage with us in that discussion.

Regards

Dr Reza Pankhurst – Reza.Pankhurst@hizb.org.uk
Dr Abdul Wahid – Abdul.Wahid@hizb.org.uk
Taji Mustafa – t.mustafa@hizb.org.uk

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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

US Muslims walk tightrope, denouncing both violence

American Muslims, sometimes accused of failing to speak out against violence carried out in the name of their religion, have forcefully condemned both the amateurish anti-Islam film that triggered recent riots and protest in the Middle East, Asia and north Africa and the violence that
it engendered.

American Muslim Reaction "No to Violence - No To abusive Movie"

American Muslim Reaction “No to Violence – No To abusive Movie”

The American Muslim community has been very forceful and consistent in its rejection of a violent response to this intentionally provocative material,

said Ibrahim Hooper, director of Communications for the Council on American Islamic Relations, a nonprofit Muslim civil rights and advocacy group.

The low-budget film “Innocence of Muslims,” apparently made by an obscure producer in Los Angeles and circulated on YouTube, infuriated many Muslims with its cartoonish portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad. The imagery sparked Muslim protests and violence targeting U.S. diplomatic missions, including a deadly assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four
Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

In a flurry of statements, press briefings, vigils, media interviews and interfaith events, groups representing American Muslims were quick to condemn the violence, host vigils for the victims and send condolences to the families of the Benghazi victims. But they also condemned the film,which  seems deliberately designed to anger Muslims.

In getting the initial response out, there was an opportunity to make two points, said Hooper.

“People here understand that America and Americans shouldn’t be blamed for the actions of a few individuals who produced this hate film,” said Hooper.

“They should also understand that all Muslims shouldn’t be blamed for the acts of a few individuals that carried out these attacks as well.”

The Muslim and Arab American leaders also sought to speak to an overseas audience.

Over the weekend, CAIR released an Arabic-language video appeal aimed at protesters, beseeching them not to blame ordinary Americans and the U.S. government for the film, which was “designed to provoke religious sensitivities and to distract from the positive efforts being undertaken to
improve newly-free societies in the wake of the Arab Spring.”

Quoting from the Quran, the speaker, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad called on protesters “to emulate Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, who did not retaliate in kind to personal abuse.

On Tuesday, the organization released a similar video narrated by Imam Agdu Semih Tadese in Yoruba, a language spoken by millions in Nigeria and elsewhere in West Africa.

“It is clear that the motive behind the film is to enrage Muslims and to display a hatred of Islam,” according to subtitles on the video. 

“However, Muslims need to demonstrate good behavior as our Prophet (peace be upon him) dealt harmoniously with people. I hereby appeal to our scholars to calm down the youth and encourage people to cultivate exemplary behavior as Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) teaches.”

Lesson in freedom of speech

These messages and others also attempt to explain freedom of speech to non-Americans.

“We play a significant role in translating for our fellow Arabs and Muslims in the region to let them know what the First Amendment rights are,” said Abed Ayoub, legal director for the Arab-American Anti-Defamation Committee, a 32-year-old civil rights organization.

Since the start of protests, Ayoub says ADC has spoken to dozens of Arab journalists in countries where freedom of speech is still an alien concept.

The challenge, he said, is to dispel their belief that this film, or any other form of expression, has the U.S. government’s stamp of approval.

“These individuals have been living under dictatorships for decades. Some of them just don’t get it,” said Ayoub.

On the steps of Los Angeles City Hall on Monday, Muslim leaders teamed up with elders from the Coptic Christian church to try to reclaim the stage from the presumptive filmmaker — an Egypt-born Coptic Christian named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula — and hot headed Islamist inciting violence. 

The stakes are particularly high in Egypt, where the Copts say they have suffered a recent surge in discrimination and attacks by extremist Muslims.

The C opts form a branch of Christians who are believed to have settled in Egypt shortly after the crucifixion of Jesus. Moderates in both religions say they want to return to the relative peace between Coptic and Muslim, populations that have coexisted for centuries.

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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

Producer behind incendiary anti-Islamic film may get sent to prison

WASHINGTON — U.S. federal probation officials are investigating the activities of a southern California filmmaker convicted of financial crimes who has been linked to an anti-Islamic movie inflaming protests across the Middle East, a spokesman for the U.S. federal court system said Friday.

Before that, according to Wired.com’s Danger Room blog, he was arrested on charged of making PCP.

The probation department in California’s central district is reviewing the case of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, who was previously convicted on bank fraud charges and was banned from using computers or the Internet as part of his sentence. The review is aimed at learning whether Nakoula violated the terms of his five-year probation.

Karen Redmond, a spokeswoman for the administrative office of the U.S. courts, confirmed Friday the review is under way. If the probation department determines Nakoula violated terms of his release, a judge could send him back to prison.

Federal authorities have identified Nakoula, a self-described Coptic Christian, as the key figure behind “Innocence of Muslims,” a film denigrating Islam and the Prophet Muhammad that ignited mob violence against U.S. embassies across the Middle East. A federal law enforcement official told the Associated Press on Thursday that authorities had connected Nakoula to a man using the pseudonym of Sam Bacile who claimed earlier to be writer and director of the film.

As for the drug charges, Wired said that the charges were made, and then dropped.

“Court records reviewed by Danger Room show that Nakoula and a co-defendant were brought before the Los Angeles County Superior Courthouse in Downey, California on April 15, 1997,” reported Wired.com. “They were charged with possessing the narcotic’s chemical precursors with ‘the intent to manufacture phencyclidine,’ otherwise known as angel dust or PCP.”

The charges were then dropped for reasons unknown five years later.

The Daily Beast reported that Nakoula and a partner were arrested for trying to mass produce meth.

Violent protests set off by the film in Libya played a role in mob attacks in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American officials. U.S. Embassy gates in Cairo were breached by protesters and demonstrations against American missions spread to Yemen on Thursday and on Friday to several other countries.

Nakoula pleaded no contest in 2010 to federal bank fraud charges in California and was ordered to pay more than $790,000 in restitution. He was also sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and was ordered not to use computers or the Internet for five years without approval from his probation officer.

It could be difficult to establish a probation violation case against Nakoula. In the federal court system, the conditions of supervised release are geared toward the offence for which a defendant was found guilty and imprisoned.

In Nakoula’s case, the offence was bank fraud. His no contest plea was to charges of setting up fraudulent bank accounts using stolen identities and Social Security numbers, depositing checks from those into accounts into other phoney accounts and then withdrawing the illicit funds from ATM machines.

While it was unclear from Redmond’s statement which aspects of Nakoula’s probation might have provoked authorities’ interest, the filmmaker’s use of a false identity and his access to the Internet through computers could be at issue, according to experts in cyber law and the federal probation system. Nakoula, who told The Associated Press that he was a manager for the film, was also under financial restrictions including requirements to provide authorities with records of all his bank and business accounts.

The probation order authorized in June 2010 by U.S. District Court Judge Christine A. Snyder warned Nakoula against using false identities. Nakoula was told not to “use, for any purpose or in any manner, any name other than his/her true legal name or names without the prior written approval of the Probation Officer.”

Federal prosecutors had charged that Nakoula used multiple false identities in creating his fraudulent accounts. Several, Nicola Bacily and Erwin Salameh, were similar to the Sam Bacile pseudonym used to set up the YouTube account for the anti-Islamic film. Other fraudulent identities, ranging from Ahmed Hamdy and Thomas J. Tanas to P.J. Tobacco, were also used by Nakoula to set up the phoney accounts, authorities charged.

Nakoula was also told by the judge that he could not have any access to the Internet “without the prior approval of the Probation officer.” Nakoula was ordered to detail any online devices and cellphones to authorities and was told his devices would be monitored and subject to searches.

Jennifer Granick, a criminal defence lawyer who specializes in online crimes, said that authorities might not have been aware of Nakoula’s online activity even if monitoring devices had been placed on computers that he used. “That may be very hard for a probation officer to catch ahead of time.”

Granick also noted that Nakoula’s conviction for financial crimes might provide a basis for probation officials to review bank and other monetary records. “Somebody charged with a financial crime might receive some supervision categories where they might re-offend,” she said.

Under “special conditions” attached to Nakoula’s probation, he was limited to one checking account and told that all of his financial records had to be disclosed to authorities if requested.

Nakoula was arrested in June 2009, pleaded no contest to the bank fraud charges a year later and was released from federal prison in June 2011 after serving a 21-month prison term, according to federal records.

There are indications that “Innocence of Muslims” may have already been under way as a film project when Nakoula was arrested in 2009. A casting call for actors and crew for a film called “Desert Warrior” ran in Backstage magazine, based in Los Angeles and New York, in May and June 2009. The casting call described the film project as a “historical Arabian Desert adventure” and listed a “Sam Bassiel” as producer.

During an interview with AP, Nakoula denied that he was Sam Bacile, but acknowledged knowing him. Nakoula also described himself as the film’s manager of logistics.

Nakoula, 55, told The Associated Press in an interview outside Los Angeles Wednesday that he managed logistics for the company that produced “Innocence of Muslims,” which mocked Muslims and the prophet Muhammad.

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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

Producer of anti-Islamic film “Innocence of Muslim” arrested !


Convicted criminal Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is behind the anti-Muslim film being blamed for mob attacks in Egypt, Libya and Yemen that have led to the deaths of four Americans, including Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, a U.S. law enforcement official has confirmed.

A man who calls himself Sam Bacile has said he created the film, but The Associated Press on Wednesday connected Nakoula to the Bacile persona.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation.

As part of his sentence after being convicted on bank fraud charges in 2010, Nakoula was forbidden from using computers or the Internet without permission from his probation officer, adding another wrinkle to Nakoula’s alleged online activity under the name “Sam Bacile.”

The self-proclaimed director of “Innocence of Muslims” initially claimed a Jewish and Israeli background. But others involved in the film said his statements were contrived as evidence mounted that the film’s key player was a southern Californian Coptic Christian with a checkered past.

Nakoula, 55, told The Associated Press in an interview outside Los Angeles Wednesday that he managed logistics for the company that produced “Innocence of Muslims,” which mocked Muslims and the prophet Muhammad.

Nakoula denied he had directed the film, though he said he knew the self-described filmmaker, Sam Bacile. But the mobile phone number that the AP contacted Tuesday to reach the filmmaker who identified himself as Bacile traced to the same address near Los Angeles where Nakoula was located.

Nakoula told the AP he is a Coptic Christian and supported the concerns of Christian Copts about their treatment by Muslims.

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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

Revealed: inside story of US envoy’s assassination in Libya

Exclusive: America ‘was warned of embassy attack but did nothing’

The killings of the US ambassador to Libya and three of his staff were likely to have been the result of a serious and continuing security breach, The Independent can reveal.

American officials believe the attack was planned, but Chris Stevens had been back in the country only a short while and the details of his visit to Benghazi, where he and his staff died, were meant to be confidential.

The US administration is now facing a crisis in Libya. Sensitive documents have gone missing from the consulate in Benghazi and the supposedly secret location of the “safe house” in the city, where the staff had retreated, came under sustained mortar attack. Other such refuges across the country are no longer deemed “safe”.

Some of the missing papers from the consulate are said to list names of Libyans who are working with Americans, putting them potentially at risk from extremist groups, while some of the other documents are said to relate to oil contracts.

According to senior diplomatic sources, the US State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert and “lockdown”, under which movement is severely restricted.

Mr Stevens had been on a visit to Germany, Austria and Sweden and had just returned to Libya when the Benghazi trip took place with the US embassy’s security staff deciding that the trip could be undertaken safely.

Eight Americans, some from the military, were wounded in the attack which claimed the lives of Mr Stevens, Sean Smith, an information officer, and two US Marines. All staff from Benghazi have now been moved to the capital, Tripoli, and those whose work is deemed to be non-essential may be flown out of Libya.

In the meantime a Marine Corps FAST Anti-Terrorism Reaction Team has already arrived in the country from a base in Spain and other personnel are believed to be on the way. Additional units have been put on standby to move to other states where their presence may be needed in the outbreak of anti-American fury triggered by publicity about a film which demeaned the Prophet Mohamed.

A mob of several hundred stormed the US embassy in the Yemeni capital Sanaa yesterday. Other missions which have been put on special alert include almost all those in the Middle East, as well as in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Armenia, Burundi and Zambia.

Senior officials are increasingly convinced, however, that the ferocious nature of the Benghazi attack, in which rocket-propelled grenades were used, indicated it was not the result of spontaneous anger due to the video, called Innocence of Muslims. Patrick Kennedy, Under-Secretary at the State Department, said he was convinced the assault was planned due to its extensive nature and the proliferation of weapons.

There is growing belief that the attack was in revenge for the killing in a drone strike in Pakistan of Mohammed Hassan Qaed, an al-Qa’ida operative who was, as his nom-de-guerre Abu Yahya al-Libi suggests, from Libya, and timed for the anniversary of the 11 September attacks.

Senator Bill Nelson, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said: “I am asking my colleagues on the committee to immediately investigate what role al-Qa’ida or its affiliates may have played in the attack and to take appropriate action.”

According to security sources the consulate had been given a “health check” in preparation for any violence connected to the 9/11 anniversary. In the event, the perimeter was breached within 15 minutes of an angry crowd starting to attack it at around 10pm on Tuesday night. There was, according to witnesses, little defence put up by the 30 or more local guards meant to protect the staff. Ali Fetori, a 59-year-old accountant who lives near by, said: “The security people just all ran away and the people in charge were the young men with guns and bombs.”

Wissam Buhmeid, the commander of the Tripoli government-sanctioned Libya’s Shield Brigade, effectively a police force for Benghazi, maintained that it was anger over the Mohamed video which made the guards abandon their post. “There were definitely people from the security forces who let the attack happen because they were themselves offended by the film; they would absolutely put their loyalty to the Prophet over the consulate. The deaths are all nothing compared to insulting the Prophet.”

Mr Stevens, it is believed, was left in the building by the rest of the staff after they failed to find him in dense smoke caused by a blaze which had engulfed the building. He was discovered lying unconscious by local people and taken to a hospital, the Benghazi Medical Centre, where, according to a doctor, Ziad Abu Ziad, he died from smoke inhalation.

An eight-strong American rescue team was sent from Tripoli and taken by troops under Captain Fathi al- Obeidi, of the February 17 Brigade, to the secret safe house to extract around 40 US staff. The building then came under fire from heavy weapons. “I don’t know how they found the place to carry out the attack. It was planned, the accuracy with which the mortars hit us was too good for any ordinary revolutionaries,” said Captain Obeidi. “It began to rain down on us, about six mortars fell directly on the path to the villa.”

Libyan reinforcements eventually arrived, and the attack ended. News had arrived of Mr Stevens, and his body was picked up from the hospital and taken back to Tripoli with the other dead and the survivors.

Mr Stevens’ mother, Mary Commanday, spoke of her son yesterday. “He did love what he did, and he did a very good job with it. He could have done a lot of other things, but this was his passion. I have a hole in my heart,” she said.

Global anger: The protests spread

Yemen

The furore across the Middle East over the controversial film about the Prophet Mohamed is now threatening to get out of control. In Sana’a, the Yemeni capital, yesterday around 5,000 demonstrators attacked the US embassy, leaving at least 15 people injured. Young protesters, shouted: “We sacrifice ourselves for you, Messenger of God,” smashed windows of the security offices and burned at least five cars, witnesses said.

Egypt

Egypt’s Islamist President Mohamed Morsi yesterday condemned the attack in Benghazi that killed the US ambassador. In a speech in Brussels, Mr Morsi said he had spoken to President Obama and condemned “in the clearest terms” the Tuesday attacks. Despite this, and possibly playing to a domestic audience, President Obama said yesterday that “I don’t think we would consider them an ally, but we don’t consider them an enemy”.

Demonstrators in Cairo attacked the mission on Tuesday evening and protests have continued since.

Iraq

Militants said the anti-Islamic film “will put all the American interests Iraq in danger” and called on Muslims everywhere to “face our joint enemy”, as protesters in Baghdad burned American flags yesterday. The warning from the Iranian-backed group Asaib Ahl al-Haq came as demonstrators demanded the closure of the US embassy in the capital.

Bangladesh

Islamists warned they may “besiege” the US embassy in Dhaka after security forces stopped around 1,000 protesters marching to the building. The Khelafat Andolon group called for bigger protests as demonstrators threw their fists in the air, burned the flag and chanted anti-US slogans.

Others

There was a Hamas-organised protest in Gaza City, and as many as 100 Arab Israelis took to the streets in Tel Aviv. In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai postponed a trip to Norway, fearing violence. Officials in Pakistan said they “expected protests”. Protesters in Tunis burnt US flags.

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In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

Staff and crew of film that ridiculed Muslims say they were ‘grossly misled’

(CNN) — The 80 cast and crew members involved in the making of the movie that has roiled much of the Islamic world said Wednesday they were “grossly misled” about its intent and expressed sorrow over the resulting violence.

“The entire cast and crew are extremely upset and feel taken advantage of by the producer,” they said in a statement to CNN about the movie, “Innocence of Muslims.”

“We are 100% not behind this film and were grossly misled about its intent and purpose,” continued the statement, which was sent to CNN by a member of the production staff who asked not to be identified for security reasons. “We are shocked by the drastic rewrites of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred.”

Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed Tuesday in Libya amid a regional furor over the film, which mocks Islam’s prophet.

A casting call published in July 2011 in Backstage magazine and in other publications for actors identifies the working title of the movie as “Desert Warrior” and describes it as a “historical Arabian Desert adventure film.”

An actress in the film who asked not to be identified said the original script did not include a Prophet Muhammed character. She added that she and other actors complained that their lines had been changed.

The actress said she spoke Wednesday with the producer, who is identified in the advertisement as Sam Bassiel. “He said he wrote the script because he wants the Muslims to quit killing,” she said. “I had no idea he was doing all this.”

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“I would never be involved in a film to ever hurt or bring harm to anybody,” she told CNN. “This makes me sick to my stomach to think that I was involved in that movie that brought death to somebody else.”

The actress said the character of Muhammed in the movie was identified as George when it was shot, and that she returned afterward and read other lines that may have been dubbed into the piece.

A member of the production staff who worked directly on the film and has a copy of the original script corroborated the actor’s account, adding that it mentions neither Muhammed nor Islam.

The Wall Street Journal identified the filmmaker as Sam Bacile, an Israeli-American real estate developer. The Journal reported that, in its telephone interview with Bacile, he characterized his film as “a political effort to call attention to the hypocrisies of Islam.”

“Islam is a cancer,” he told the newspaper. “The movie is a political movie. It’s not a religious movie.”

CNN has not been able to contact Bacile and cannot verify that he made the movie. A CNN search of public records on Sam Bacile came up empty.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said it doesn’t know who Bacile is.

“This guy is totally anonymous. At this point no one can confirm he holds Israeli citizenship and even if he did we are not involved,” ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said. “No Israeli institution, government department or office has any involvement in this. This guy acted on his own behalf.”

In Egypt and Libya, mobs targeted U.S. missions and blamed America for the film. In the end, Stevens and three other Americans in the Libyan city of Benghazi were dead, although it was not clear whether that attack was solely incited by the film.

Consultant Steve Klein told CNN he worked with Bacile on the movie and said the filmmaker had gone into hiding.

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“He’s very depressed, and he’s upset,” Klein said Wednesday. “I talked to him this morning, and he said that he was very concerned for what happened to the ambassador.”

Klein, however, said it was not the film’s fault that protests had turned bloody.

Casting further doubt on the filmmaker’s identity, The Atlantic quoted Klein as saying Sam Bacile is a pseudonym and “he did not know Bacile’s real name.” CNN could not immediately reach Klein for his response to that report.

An online trailer for the film depicts Islam as a fraudulent religion bent on getting rid of nonbelievers.

Cartoonish scenes show Muhammed as a womanizer, child molester and ruthless killer. Other scenes show security forces ordered to do nothing as rampaging Muslims destroy Christian homes, and a donkey anointed the first Muslim animal.

Many Muslims find any depiction of Muhammed to be offensive — a Danish newspaper’s publication in 2005 of Mohammed caricatures triggered riots — and derogatory depictions of the prophet are considered by some to be worse.

“The film is offensive to the prophet and immoral,” said Egyptian Prime Minister Hashem Kandil. “We call on the great people of Egypt to exercise restraint when expressing their anger.”

The prime minister called on the United States to take legal action against the makers of the film, though it was not clear that it violates any U.S. law.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Bacile said he raised $5 million from about 100 Jewish donors to make the two-hour movie in California last year. Based on the trailer, the movie appears to have been produced on a low budget.

The movie, which was posted in July on YouTube, got more notice after Egyptian television recently aired segments and anti-Islam activists, including Egyptian-born Coptic Christian Morris Sadek, promoted it online.

Terry Jones, the Florida pastor whose Quran-burning last year sparked deadly riots in Afghanistan, said he had been contacted to help distribute the film.

“The film is not intended to insult the Muslim community, but it is intended to reveal truths about Muhammed that are possibly not widely known,” Jones said.

“It is very clear that God did not influence him (Muhammed) in the writings of the Quran,” said Jones, who went on to blame Muslims’ fear of criticism for the protests, rather than the film.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called Jones on Wednesday to ask him to withdraw his support for the film, according to Col. David Lapan, Dempsey’s spokesman.

“Jones’ support of the film risks causing more violence and death,” Lapan said.

Tensions mounted Wednesday as the United States deployed Marines to Libya.

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood — the former party of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy — has called for peaceful protests against the film on Friday, Islam’s day of religious observance.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban charged that the movie was made with the permission of the U.S. government. The First Amendment prohibits the government from interfering with free expression.

President Hamid Karzai condemned the film as abhorrent and an act of desecration. “There could be many deaths once news of this video and Pastor Terry Jones’ comments get out,” said Karzai’s deputy spokesman.

The issue is sensitive in Afghanistan, where throngs of people this year protested NATO’s burning of Qurans at Bagram Airfield. U.S. President Barack Obama said the act was unintentional, but the uproar nonetheless was huge.

In America, a Muslim advocacy group called the movie “trashy” and said its producers represented neither the United States nor the Christian faith.

“We urge that this ignorant attempt to provoke the religious feelings of Muslims in the Arabic-speaking world be ignored and that its extremist producers not be given the cheap publicity they so desperately seek,” said the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Facebook sprouted several pages dedicated to condemning the film, including one called “Israelis, Jews & Americans Against Sam Bacile’s ‘Innocence of Muslims’ Film.”

A post on that page simply said: “IM-Bacile.”

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